Gosh, I’m the biggest fan of verbal communication.
Yes, social media avenues where comments are left and sentiments gushed are awesome. I adore a good handwritten note or thoughtful text, but there’s nothing quite like seeing body language or hearing one’s tone when verbally communicating.
Words, you had me at hello.
What I most appreciate about the handing back and forth of real-time words is the efficiency with which they can knit people closer, how they create healing, and clarify questions. How else can encouragement be so quickly offered, or assumptions extinguished?
Oh, verbal communication, I heart you.
For me, this is a season of jumping into a flurry of people, then days of isolated time, then jumping back in. It’s both life-giving and challenging. All in, then stillness.
It’s required extra efforts in the communication department.
I’m learning to take TLC with relationships, especially those I still hope to be doing deep life with in twenty, thirty, fifty years from now. And it’s hard work. The best kind of hard work, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
Bryan tells me, and he’s absolutely right, “You don’t do well with time and space in regards to relationships.”
What he means is, when too much time or space lapses since verbal communication with those I hold dear, my mind tends to wonder and insecurities rise to the surface. It’s not that I doubt our relationship in entirety, but I can find myself questioning if it’s valued on the other end.
Do you have people who you haven’t talked with in a while where suddenly the thought springs, ‘Do they even care? Do they miss me? Am I forgettable?’
Guess what? Verbal communication puts all those doubts to rest.
Which is why I recently took a moment to talk with someone I do care about. Instead of negatively assuming a lack of communication meant a lack of caring, and allowing it to grow, I thought, “Nope, I’m just gonna call.”
So I picked up the phone to ask, to clarify, to give room for communication. And when the voice on the other end answered, “Oh yes…” a weight lifted and she ended with, “I’m so glad we can talk like this.”
I am too. I’m grateful for the gift of verbal talky-talky, for the gift of sharing and listening and caring about the heart of understanding, the compass being a give-and-take relationship.
We’re all busy, ya know? Who of us has time, or even wants to gab on the phone all day? (my worst nightmare). I do, however, believe there are hard things worth fighting for. Until discussed, they only grow bigger unless we take the time to talk.them.out.
That same day (is it national I Heart Words Day?) I caught up with a soul sister. It had been months, maybe almost a year since our last conversation. Her life’s been busy. Ours, too. But gosh, I’m finding 9 times out of 10, there’s much happening on the other end, and when I pause to ask, I only have to listen for 5 seconds to realize this truth: we all have circumstances that flood our days. How are we communicating the gift of verbal value to our favorite people?
Let’s not assume they know they are celebrated. Let’s tell them.
Let’s not think enough people are already encouraging them. Let’s tell them.
Let’s not let too much time pass before we’ve let our hope words land in their ears. If they are our people, let’s tell them.
I ended one of the day’s phone calls with a brave request, and I wonder if there’s someone you need to ask the same of: “I could use some encouragement,” I said. I don’t need it to carry on, but it would sure feel nice to know my being in your life matters.” And then I handed the question back. “How can I encourage you?”
Sometimes that’s the gift of verbal communication. Asking. Clarifying. Maybe apologizing or celebrating. When we still the chaos to say, “I know it’s been a bit, but having you in my life, it matters.”
Well, that matters. Especially to those of us who heart words.